Dulltown,UK: Today’s hippopotamus is the one wearing yellow Lycra cycling pants.
I was just thinking about that funny clip-on shelf thing I made for my drawing table a couple of weeks ago; I think I mentioned, when I showed it to you, that it was just the sort of thing you might see in the pages of The 1954 Gadgets Annual, that old junk shop book that I occasionally feature in these pages. Look, here is a photograph of the title page – the book cover itself is really far too drab to be of any interest.
1954 – those were the days when money was tight here in the UK, it was only a few years after WWII, and people repaired things when they broke instead of immediately throwing them out as we do today; and they tinkered about in the their garden sheds constructing handy and useful things for the home. When someone came up with a bright idea for a novel item they would perhaps do a little sketch and post if off to Gadgets Magazine and share it with like-minded souls throughout the length and breadth of the Kingdom. (I’m trying to slip into 1950s style here!)
There are two or three items per page and they cover a wide range of interests:
Simple Toys For Young Children; Simple Wheel Bushings; A Novel Pencil Sharpener; A Gadget For Drying Films: Toothpaste Removes ‘Rings’ On Furniture; Make a Useful Tool From a Tin Lid; A Toy Electric Organ (An amusing novelty)… &c.
‘Just look at the state of my smalls*…’
‘Well, Madge I…’
‘No, no, don’t be silly Albert. Look, here, in the top drawer of the dresser.’
‘Well, all I can see are your…’
‘Look, look, my nice clean things are getting fluffy – see!’
‘Oh yes, fluff and dust do seem to accumulate in the corners of the drawer Madge.’
‘Yes, they do Albert, perhaps you could pop downstairs and fetch me a small, but clean, paintbrush – that should shift them…’
‘Now, just a minute, hold hard there Madge… did you happen to see where I put my recent copy of Gadgets Magazine?’
‘This is no time for sneaking off to read that silly publication Albert – just go and get me a paint brush from the shed – a clean one!’
‘It’s not a silly publication dear, in fact, I recall reading something apposite and pertinent to the problem in hand… Ah, here’s my magazine, by the bed, I was reading it last night just before we…’
‘Never mind that Albert!…’
‘Look, on page 4 – the ideal thing, and it’s so simple!’
‘Oh, yes… It is!…’
‘Shall I nip downstairs and make one dear?’
‘Yes, Albert, and I’ll get all the drawers emptied ready.’
‘Right ho dear, back in a moment…’